I’ve been on holiday for a few days so a bumper posting today.  Tim Coates/Bilbary is a big thing in the general news, with the plan to share UK Bilbary e-book profits with Kensal Rise campaigners (edit: if purchased via the Kensal Rise website) being especially eye-catching.  The cuts in South Tyneside with one-third (17 out of 54) staff being made voluntarily redundant is more eye-watering than eye-catching.  The Council predictably wants to take up the resultant gaping hole in its staffing with volunteers.  Using developers in order to pay for new buildings is also something of a theme.


  • 50 Shades book burning call by abuse charity – BBC.  “Ms Phillipson, who said she had read two-thirds of the first book before she gave up “in disgust”, said she was furious that libraries throughout the North East were ordering extra copies of the trilogy to cope with demand.” … “Sunderland City Councillor John Kelly said: “We want to give people freedom of choice in what they read – it is not for us to dictate what material they read. We want to give them a wide variety of material.”
  • Advocacy and libraries – Wandering Librarian.  “Yesterday I managed to get hold of a superfluous library trolley and somehow cram its unweildy frame into my (not very big) car, for example, so that this can be used by Preston Road Library. To my mind, there is a lot more those of us working in other library sectors could be doing to help those working in the public libraries which (thus far) are the ones which have been worst hit by spending cuts.”.  Also includes a look, with pictures, at the new rather wonderful Clapham Library.
  • Bilbary to sell e-books via California libraries – BookSeller.  “E-book website Bilbary has done a deal with Califa, the not-for-profit co-operative of the California State library service, to offer e-book sales through the service.”.  Kansas and Denver already on board.  See also  this comment on the move.
  • Core indicators for public libraries – Global Statistics for Advocacy.  Some useful statstical yardsticks for public libraries.
  • Council cuts threaten libraries in Highgate and Somerset – BookSeller.  Highgate Library under threat as budget cut from £163k to £53k per year: Friends of Highgate Library working on rescue plan.  In Somerset, Barwell library will close
  • Death in the Library – An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.  An article against putting self-service into libraries and reducing funding on staff and books.  Quite moving with some interesting comments at the end.
  • Ebook sales help bid to reopen library – London Evening Standard.  Plan is to “offer an ebook service to Kensal Rise library users and schools in England, with half the profits going to the campaign. The service, Bilbary, has more than 350,000 titles and has been operating in US libraries for more than a year.Mr Coates said: “Literally half the money we make will go to the library, I hope it will be thousands of pounds we can help them with.” So far campaigners have raised £33,303 towards their £70,000 goal, which includes urgent repairs to the library. “
  • Entrepreneur brothers sell ads on toilet paper – Lohud (USA).  “The brothers have secured about 50 advertisers, which pay $99 for 20,000 advertisements that appear on approximately 160 rolls. Venues that agree to carry the toilet paper receive it for free.The brothers expect the printed toilet paper to appear in the bathrooms of the Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library in October.”
  • How we did it: building a public library with no public money – Planning.  (Pay for view).  “A partnership between a south London borough and two developers has delivered a new public library and leisure centre at no cost to the public.”

“The real issue is not about volunteers helping to maintain services but about the service being managed and developed by professional librarians. When I was managing Bedfordshire Libraries we developed a very successful small branch library that had been closed by working with the local Town Council and a committee of volunteers to re-establish the library. We managed to reinstate about 50% of the original funding so that the library is properly linked into the Council IT system and users are regarded as other uses of the authority’s libraries. The local Town Council pick up the tab for a manager and the remaining staff are volunteers – the library has to purchase its stationary etc. from the authority but they keep any income, including fines. They have been extremely successful in raising income from lettings and manage a range of innovative local activities – but at its heart, the service is managed by the authority’s staff who purchase the stock, provide training and generally oversee the service. ” Barry George MBE on volunteering in libraries (on lis-pub-libs).

  • Small-town Minnesota libraries in danger of going broke – Examiner (USA).  “a library system serving seven small cities in in northwest Minnesota would be broke in three years.”
  • Suddenly everyone wants to talk about books, but nobody wants to read them – Independent (Howard Jacobson).  “But no one who cares about reading as a civilising activity can fail to be alarmed by the closures of libraries and bookshops, the decline of “whole book” teaching in schools, the capitulation of the printed book to its electronic in-law…”
  • Waiting for Cipfa – Good Library Blog.  Tim Coates complains about the little-used, expensive and complicated existing CIPFA library statistics and looks forward to the promised new ones which should show how councils have responded to the cuts and also include new “helpful” comparisons.
  • Why support your local library? – StateStats (USA).  Excellent infographic covering some key points.  Interesting section on volunteering in US public libraries.


Local News

  • Central Bedfordshire – Library lovers drew on art skillsDunstable Today.  Upgrading includes drinks.
  • Bristol – Pool plan should be a boost for Bishopston – This is Bristol.  “Coming soon will be a library, along with a community health centre, boasting a pharmacy and a hydrotherapy suite. Not far away on the current Cheltenham Road library site dozens of new apartments will be created.”
  • Calderdale – Letters – Halifax Courier.  Four letters about the proposed demolition and move of Central Library inc (a) worries that building had been allowed to fall into disrepair and about how much money will be paid for it, (b) concerns Council is orchestrating pro-move letters and suggestion that library need not be demolished, (c) suggestion that e-books will make new library a white elephant and (d) pro move letter suggesting chance for great new building plus an opportunity to attract big-name retailers into town.
  • Cambridgeshire – Flooding: shops close and library roof damaged – BBC.  “The heavy downpour also caused part of the Central Library ceiling to collapse and caused “minor damage” to stock.”
  • Camden – Massive budget cut had left future of Highgate Library “hanging in the balance” – Ham & High.  “Linda Lefevre, treasurer of the Friends of Highgate Library, said: “The library’s future hangs in the balance – £110,000 is a massive cut and leaves us with £50,000 to run some kind of service. “The way the finances are, there is a long fight ahead.” Savings have had to be made across the whole of Camden’s library service, which included handing over Belsize, Primrose Hill and Heath libraries to the community to run.”
  • Croydon – Worrying signs of neglect in Croydon’s under-threat libraries – Inside Croydon.  “roydon’s public libraries are under-staffed, under-stocked and being deliberately run-down ahead of privatisation. And few library users are even aware of what is going on. That’s the stark assessment of a professional library worker and campaigner following a visit to three of the borough’s 13 libraries which are now part of an expensive competitive tendering process that is expected to be completed next month.”

“Over the last 5 years I have been into many libraries (both Central and local) around the country in connection with historical research and attending talks. I have not seen any as run down as Norbury. Its shelves are being stripped bare. Is it being set up for closure and being sold off so that the successful library tender bidder will not have to try to turn it around and invest in making the upper floor useable?” Comment on article

  • Cumbria – Cockermouth Fire Stattion considered as possible home for library – Times & Star.  “The Station Road building’s fire control room was moved to Cheshire in June, and its owner Cumbria County Council has been in talks with several organisations about its future. A council spokesman said: “A new library for Cockermouth is something the county council has been looking into, as the current town centre one is relatively small.”
  • Devon – Library declared open after six-month makeover – Gazette.  “The six-month makeover was carried out mainly by volunteers, and was funded largely by the Friends of Appledore Library (FOAL) led by children’s author Nick Arnold.”
  • Essex – Brentwood library bosses cutting back on time for rhyme – This is Total Essex.  “Parents are upset that Essex County Council has decided to change the frequency of the New Road library’s Saturday morning Daddy Cool sessions from weekly to monthly to save money”
  • Parents fury as library storytime hit by cuts – Enquirer. “Brentwood South Cllr Mike Le-Surf (pictured centre, with campaigning parents) added: “I received so many calls from local residents about the cuts to the Saturday morning group that I felt we had to act to try and save it. Local working families feel very strongly about it due to the networking and support opportunities it gives them and their children.  “This Saturday morning group is vital for hard working families. Tory cuts to services, especially around libraries are a completely false economy. They break down the structures of our local community and make it harder for people to support each other locally.”
  • Gloucestershire – Community silencing fears over their library – This is Gloucestershire. “Volunteers are hoping a new community trust will seamlessly begin running Minchinhampton Library when the county finally axes it this autumn. Residents and representatives of Minchinhampton Parish Council are part of a steering group that’s working towards the formation of a charitable company limited by guarantee.”
  • Halton – Libraries launch survey to help improve their service – Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News.  “Halton Council is conducting a survey that it says will help officers understand the public’s vision of what a modern library should offer.”
  • Hertfordshire – Council library at Bushey lit up all night while streets remain dark – Watford Observer.  “What on earth is going on? The council has switched off lights left, right and centre, plunging roads into darkness. Yet they can’t ensure that a service they fund – Bushey Library – switches its lights off?”
  • Nottinghamshire – County Council nearing target for apprentices – This is Nottingham.  “Terrena said: “The chance to work as part of a team and deal with the public really appealed to me about Mansfield Library and I’m really enjoying it.” Hollie said: “I am really keen to have a career dealing with the public, so working at the library is absolutely ideal.”
  • Sheffield – Parson Cross library users reminded to voice their opinions – Postcode Gazette.  “Library users are now being asked, as part of a consultation across the city, what up-to-date accessible facilities they would want in the future and what would be important to them.  These include what times they would prefer libraries to be open, the quality of facilities currently on offer at the library and other potential uses in the future. “
  • North Somerset – Village library to shut doors next week This is Bristol.  “North Somerset Council announced last year it was considering closing Banwell Library, along with others in Congresbury and Backwell, as it sought to save millions from its budget. Now, despite a campaign by villagers and Banwell Youth Council – which saw youngsters and residents march to the nearest alternative library in Winscombe, about two miles away – the council has announced the village library will close next Friday.”
  • South Tyneside – Check out this view from the old library – Shields Gazette.  “It’s deeply saddening that such an essential service, offering vital educational and recreational facilities, as well as important community points of contact, should be made to bear such a heavy share of the burden. People will have been aware of the impact already, for instance, on the local history collection here in Shields and its re-location within the larger library building.”
  • Library service faces staffing crisis – Gazette.  “In the last few months, 17 of the borough’s 58 library staff have left their posts through voluntary redundancy. Meanwhile, as part of a service review, some branches are to close earlier and others shut on a Saturday.”
  • Telford and Wrekin – Refurbishment continues at Stirchley Library – Shropshire Live.  “Stirchley Library is in the middle of extensive refurbishment as it welcomes Stirchley and Brookside Parish Council on board to share its building”

“By sharing building costs we are helping to deliver a more sustainable library service providing co-operative opportunities with town and parish councils and other partners including schools. “This new way of working is putting the concept of our Co-operative Council into action. It means that no library in Telford and Wrekin would have to close. This solution will save the council money at the same time as ensuring community services are still delivered.”